Life in Balance: Non-utensil cooking lets everyone in on the summer fun

Published: Tuesday, July 3 2012 3:14 p.m. MDT

Nuts and dried fruit can also be used as Banana Boat toppings.

Dian thomas, Dian thomas

The other day I had a woman stop to see me when I was out signing my books. She told me that she lives in Illinois and worked at a state park as and event coordinator.

She said one of the favorite classes that she taught was non-utensil cooking. She had used the ideas out of "Roughing it Easy." Those ideas are also my favorite. The thing that I like most about them is that each person can make their own dish and are responsible for cooking it.

That makes it fun for everyone and helps to involve each person in the experience.

Here are two of my favorites.

Meatloaf in Onion

1 pound lean ground beef

1 egg

1/4 cup cracker crumbs

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1?2 teaspoon dry mustard

4 large onions, peeled and halved

18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil

Cut off the root end of the onion. Then trim off the top. Now cut the outside layer off so that you are down to the clean onion. Cut the onion in half and remove the center.

In a 1-gallon plastic self-sealing bag, combine ground beef, egg, cracker crumbs, tomato sauce, salt, pepper and dry mustard and mix by squeezing.

Fill the center of the onion with the mixture and then put the onion back together.

Note: If you want to make it a little easier just add some meat seasoning to the meat and mix.

Place the onion in the center of a piece of heavy-duty foil that is about 6 inches extra on each side of the onion. Now bring the two sides together at the top of the onion and roll down in small folds. Then flatten the foil out on both ends and roll in toward the onion, which will seal it in the foil. Place on hot charcoal for 15 minutes on each side. You will have a wonderful meatloaf cooked inside of the onion.

Banana Boat

1 banana

2 tablespoon milk chocolate chips

3 tablespoon miniature marshmallows

Take the banana and cut a slit from the top to the bottom of the banana cutting into the meat about 2?3 the way down.

Open the banana up just like it was a canoe and then place the chocolate chips and miniature marshmallows down the center.

Wrap in foil and place in the hot coals for about 5 minutes — just long enough to melt the chocolate and miniature marshmallows. Again, this is a dish that everyone can make for himself or herself.

Note: For a healthier mix use a mixture on nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate chips.

These two ideas are always a hit at my parties. I serve this with a green salad and everyone is happy. Enjoy!

TV personality and author Dian Thomas shares her journey of weight loss, exercise and life on the run every other Wednesday in the Deseret News and at www.DianThomas.com. She also takes tour groups to China. Her website is atwww.dianthomas.com/travel.htm.

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